I want it all! – Travel, Career & Love Life

I have to say in many ways I feel I have become the typical millennial. I seem to be in this weird generation where we all kill ourselves working more and more, we take part in extra activities and build freelance careers next to our full time jobs. My closest friends are all investing in houses, getting married and probably will start sprouting out the most adorable babies in the next few years. Where as I am here, sat in my office lunch time typing this and thinking to myself, selfishly perhaps, but I want it all!

I have always, as far as I can remember, been a busy bee. I can’t help myself and seem to be constantly working and thriving for better. I want to exercise, and write, learn languages, relax, do dance classes and drama society, I want it all! I have yet to crack the magic behind time management/sleeping enough to seem alive at work, without having to give up all of my interests. More so, I have yet to master the art of saving without spending, as at the moment everything I save is because it will be spent in my 3 month long trip. So what, I am only 24 and this will be the trip of a lifetime! And as much as I am keen on boarding a plane and abandoning Europe for 3 months of madness, adventures, Spanish speaking countries, gastronomical discoveries and sunshine, I am not willing to sacrifice my entire life for this.

I really do admire my adventurous friends, who decided to give up the security of a job for the nomad life that is paired with an array of mesmerising experiences that maybe I will never get to live. I also admire those who have been so hell bent in having a successful career that at my age can afford a mortgage and a diamond engagement ring for their partner. That is great! Both of these in my eyes are amazing achievements, but they are not the path I want to pave for myself, because having one without the other for me is downright depressing. So I am really here because I want it all and WILL have it all!

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First of all, having built a career in media, events and marketing for the last three years, I decided that before I move out from my parents’ house, where rent is cheap as chips and I have the love and support of my family, I would take the plunge and take a sabbatical for three months. I realise that this means that for three months of a year, a quarter of the year, I will receive no paycheques, and this is where I have had to quickly perfect the art of saving. However, this does mean that for 3 months I get to gallivant across South and Central America knowing that upon my return to the UK my job is securely waiting for me.

A lot of people have also asked me, ‘what if you don’t want to go back to that career?’ to which I answered, I will always want to go back to something because I am actually a self-assumed workaholic. However, here was the sudden change of plans. Having decided on my three month trip, booking most of it and being almost done with the payments, I also decided to change careers! I no longer will return to a job in media, events and marketing. No. I will return to a job in education, a job which I start in September and will be waiting for me upon my return. I was very lucky that my new role accepted the terms of my previous job regarding the trip, and feel that actually this is a really nice combination. Not only am I going to go off and discover the world, I will return to a job in the field in which I want to pursue a lifelong and stable career.

See, I want it all! Most people feel they cannot pair the two together, but with a bit of determination and downright gumption, anything can be achieved. I feel I had quite big cojones to decide to change career when I am about to leave the country, however I wouldn’t do it any other way. I am excited at the prospect of being able to indulge my adventurous side and then return to a life of incredible work, to such a worthy field as education and feel the daily rewards of seeing young adults reach and surpass their potentials.

I have not yet finished my rant about desires and balancing a lifetime of needs into one thing. I have clearly shown that I can make my working life workout alongside my life long dream of a trip. I have yet to truly testify whether my love life can survive too, but I am willing to give it a valiant shot. When my boyfriend went travelling for 2 and a half months, we did not break up. He went and I stayed and we continued faithful and very much in love. There were times when missing him felt like agony, however, I feel in the long run it has strengthened our relationship and if anything has made me believe that I can take the 3 month trip and we will be fine. Which we will, absolutely! If things are meant to be they will and I just have to believe. I have friends that have separated from their long term partners precisely to go travelling, but I won’t give him up for my 3 month journey of self-discovery. He continues to be very much a part of the person I am discovering and the life I am building for myself. So I truly want it all.

Like I have told you before, and continue to say, I truly believe you can make it all work for you. I postponed my travels for nearly 4 years in order to get to a point in my life where I felt confident enough to do it, and secure enough in my career too. I am proud of the choices I have made so far, and yes they may or may not work in the future, but at the moment they have been difficult choices that have brought me great success. In a roundabout way, people get to the places they want to and this is my long journey to get it to where I want to. I hope it all works out, but this post is only really to ease the minds of those who feel that to travel you have to sacrifice the other life you have built up. You don’t. You just have to re-arrange it a little bit to make it all fit, like a neat puzzle piece.

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Travelling when you have to save!

I am so excited as you all know I am currently organising and booking up loads of tours to go on a 3 month trip across Central and South America. This has been a dream of mine for a long time, and the wheels are finally set in motion and it is happening at the very end of 2015, precisely the 31st of December when I embark on a New Year’s flight to a new world. All of my excitement was shared with you back in February when my request for a sabbatical at work was accepted – read about it here! However, now the reality of this entire adventure has dawned on me, and as I usually lead quite an adventurous and somewhat expensive life due to my constant need to experience culture, things have had to change a little bit.

This is a sacrifice I am not sad about making, I know that 10 months of hard work and saving are going to pay off by giving me one of the most enriching experiences of my life, but yet other things happen in life with which you also have to engage and accommodate your finances for. Here is the issue with saving for travelling when you already have travel to pay for. At the very start of the year I had already organised my trip to Budapest – which you are currently following on the blog – and my city break to Krakow which is coming in May. Then I can’t help it if friends of mine get engaged and decide to tie the knot in Norway, obviously this is going to be another trip! Unbeknownst to me this entire time that the sabbatical request was going to be approved! But as with everything in life, things come with expenses. On top of that we all have rent to pay, bills, cars to maintain, our mouths to feed and sometimes family’s and general things that pop out of nowhere so where does all this money come from?!

Do not think I am here to give you any form of advice, I am not. This is my first time attempting to save this ridiculous an amount of money in a short space of time to invest it all in one thing. This is a learning curve for me and it is something I want to share with all of you in the hopes that you will answer some questions as well, such as, HOW DO YOU DO IT?!

Here is my simple plan of cut offs and keeps for my monthly pay to cover all my travel expenses:

CUT OFFS

  • Clothes
  • Shoes
  • Bags
  • Unnecessary weekly date nights
  • Cinema – yes we all stream films accept it
  • Books
  • Concerts and festivals – sad reality but the trip outweighs my need to go to festivals this year! Save it for 2017
  • Unnecessary food – like cakes, who needs cake!
  • Weekend trips and hotels for no apparent reason other than I can
  • Theatre trips – this hurts my feelings

KEEPS

  • Petrol
  • Daily food
  • Rent
  • Car maintenance stuff – like insurance, need to be safe and legal
  • Gym
  • Bills
  • Phone Contract
  • Any replacement items or stuff that I will need for the trip, like lightweight hiking boots/shoes

I for one have decided I do not want to pay for my trip out of my savings, the 3 month sabbatical will be completely funded from my monthly pay check leaving my savings ready for when I want to move out – yes I pay rent to my parents. And this has been a fascinating exercise of control, because I am quite a lavish gift giver, and as I said I usually indulge in quite a few cultural events. However if I want to be able to go on another 2 trips this year – Krakow and Norway to go – and still be able to pay off my 3 month travelling adventure by October, something has to give. I feel it is only fair that I give up, or temporarily abstain myself from weekends of unnecessary but pleasurable experiences to give way to three months of a once in a lifetime experience.

Everyone I know has told me this is a solid move and good decision, as I will return from abroad prepared to turn 25 and really take my life by its reigns. Before a house, marriage, kids and a serious career come to play, I will get to experience something that many will have done and many will want to do. It is my time. I am hoping my endeavours to save will prove fruitful and successful but who knows.

My question and search for any advice continues, so tell me dear travelling community, how do you do it?

How do you travel while saving for future travels? How do you save so much money in so little time?

Happy reading, writing and travelling!

World Days – Books and Wildlife

Today marks two very important days in the world #WorldBookDay and #WorldWildlifeDay. It is, to me, extremely poignant that these have fallen on the same date this year and that we are celebrating or paying tribute to aspects in our lives that may not seem to be great influences in our day to day living, but I can guarantee have impacted our lives more than we expect. It is a wonderful occasion that these have fallen on the same day, as so many of my favourite childhood stories have been about the life of animals, or characters that are animals with human features. Why is it that when we are young we have so much more empathy for a family of bears or elephants than when we are older? When we are young we do not really understand how these animals’ lives are affected by human decisions, but we care so deeply for them. Is it perhaps that at a younger age we are far more in touch with our animal nature? After all, we may be human beings, but we still belong to the animal kingdom, to this earth that we all roam together and should enjoy side by side.

Now as an adult, it is apparent to me that every decision I make can gravely impact the planet in which I live. The way I travel, the way I work, the way we eat. So much information is shared and it is noticeable that every decision I make, no matter how insignificant it may look, can have a domino effect in more than just my life. More than human life. All of life. Only recently I have expressed an interest in participating in the Cycle to Work scheme that is ran by some companies in the UK, including mine, and reducing my carbon footprint in my daily commutes to work. I will inevitably have to use my car for journeys further afield as I cover quite a wide area, but it is already a huge step to use a bicycle in my every day commute. My parents are also fixing up their bikes/trikes so we can all go on family rides together.

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I also feel that as an avid reader and aspiring writer, writing can have such a huge impact on the world. Let’s speak logistically first of all of the thousands of printed books… I am a huge lover of print, I even work for the print industry, but the fact of the matter is that the consumable product is one of the biggest wastes in Nature. I am all for paperbacks, but am also a huge supporter of the e-book because we need to save the trees! Not only for our own selfish needs – because breathing! – but because there are millions of micro populations that live their entire existences on trees. We need to provide that service, that not only keeps the air we breathe pure, clean and full of oxygen, but also keeps lots of animals alive which balance out our natural world. I am so proud of print companies that are now printing books on recycled paper, which is a huge step forward.

These two days, which celebrate and discuss two things that influence me so much as a person really do echo in my mind as days worth remembering and taking action on. I celebrate the thousands of words that have shaped our worlds, helped our imaginations, have brought us films, theatre, great classical pieces of literature, have touched us all deeply or brought us great sorrow. I also celebrate the versatility of our world, the habitat that in so many ways we have, man kind, has destroyed in their selfish attempt to improve that which nature has already spent years perfecting and continues to do so. We sit in our comfortable homes, with heating, eating up the resources of our world and forgetting that other species are the balance of this planet. Forgetting that we cannot continue to eat up space from the oceans, who will only come and take it back leaving populations devastated. I am the hypocrite itself, speaking of change when I can’t implement much of it. However, today I start. Having filled my application to the cycle to work scheme, so I can help reduce my carbon footprint by a lot! I have sponsored three animals of my choice on the WWF adoption website, to help save the species from going extinct and protect them. I am even looking at altering patterns on my staple diet which disagree with me due to the fact that I disagree with brutal, forced, animal farming. Those videos about the milking cows actually make me feel violently sick, so I now drink coconut, rice and almond milk.

There are things we can all do to celebrate these days, but also to work in maintaining our planet and reversing the harm that we have caused it so far. Just as there is so much we can do to encourage children to enjoy reading and to enjoy the time in which they can truly love to live in fantasy. I feel so strongly about these two days, so passionately and fervently about literature, the world in which, as you can probably tell, I would love to pursue a career. And equally, it is only as of late, in my last few years that I have truly started growing and developing a proper appreciation for the globe and all its different environments and we are only one component of the incredible world that has grown and develop over time and it is our job to care for it and our job to keep and share its stories and culture throughout the ages.

Happy #WorldBookDay and Happy #WorldWildlifeDay

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A balanced life – Mission Impossible!

Can you believe we are already 5 weeks into the year? It is insane how fast time flies by and you feel like yet again you have missed out on doing things, completing things because time simply won’t stop for you to fulfill everything. I thought that 5 weeks into the year I would have already established a new structure in my life, a new daily plan to improve my health and fitness, and overall stress levels. I want to get back into playing music, giving more time to my studies and personal development and writing.

If you hadn’t gathered from earlier in the year I am a huge Mission Impossible fan, those films never get old, and recently I have established that the mission impossible is daily life. Most of us are bogged down by a 9 to 5 job with responsibilities that sometimes extend beyond the daily grind that we submit ourselves too. I am a very career focused person and absolutely adore what I do, but sometimes it is a huge challenge for me to find the switch in my mind that allows me to go home and relax. Stepping away from the work place as soon as you leave the office building is extremely important for your emotional stability and it is something I admittedly struggle with.

This weekend that has just passed I took a huge step into my new form of life. I attended a circuit training run by a friend of mine who is a personal trainer (check out his website!) which was a huge challenge as I haven’t been to a gym or done any form of exercise since November 2015… or does sex count? I also cleaned my room out of all the rubbish that was accumulating on my floor, filed all my letters and important documentation, got rid of clothes and shoes that do not fit me and will do a lot better in charity shops aiding those who need it. I have prepared my diary cleared it of commitments that will only cause me stress and this morning paid a trip to the gym.

I am determined to de-clutter my life this year and focus on me and my happiness and success. This ME concept involves a lot of things and facets of what I want to achieve, be it personal accomplishments, weight loss, healthy eating… so many aspects of it will require hard work and won’t be a question of doing it once and achieving it. This is a change of habits I am investing in, a change of lifestyle.

Many people don’t like the idea of a new year, of promises you make to yourself that you are never going to keep, or deciding that something has to be achieved in a year. I think they are only scared of not having the courage to actually take the first leap that all type of change requires. Mine has come a month delayed, but it is here. And I do not want to look at it as one leap only but a step in the right direction to the rest of a healthy and fulfilling peaceful life. A lot like learning, which is a constant development of knowledge, I believe that our lives need that type of investment and constant desire to grow form our behalves. In this aspect I can be a very selfish person because I feel the need to always evolve, to continue to thrive and become a better and improved version of myself.

For 2016 I want this to be the year of finished projects of writing, continuing building on DiscoveringDiana a blog that I have grown to love and enjoy sharing stories and adventures with you guys. DiscoveringDiana has also been a chance for me to connect with a lot of incredible writers and adventurers, real go-getters in life create content that I adore reading. I want to become a healthier me again, a stronger version of me… #StrongNotSkinny – but more than anything I want to grow as a person, experience things I never have and let go of the barrier that holds me back sometimes. I love the idea of becoming so comfortable in myself once more that I do not feel any fear in showing my true colours and all the beautiful projects I get involved in. This is the year I crack the mission impossible and find a truly balanced life!

Visiting London as a seasoned Londoner

I lived in London for 3 years and spent a lot of time wandering around trying to discover every corner of a city that spreads so widely and has such an eclectic society it seems like an entire world of its own. It is a lot bigger than it seems, and so much smaller at the same time. The things that intimidate new comers most about London, become the best aspects, the things that make one huge city feel small and homely.

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In my last days as a London resident it lost much of its allure for me, in that it was somewhere that I knew so well and recognised so easily that like a work commuter, I began walking it idly not paying attention to the wonderful things it offers. It felt sometimes as if the icing in the cake had melted, the cherry on top had been devoured by grey concrete buildings, a working mind that does not stop to look and everyone’s rush and hurry to get from one place to the next in a never stopping city that refuses to shut its eyes and sit still and tranquil for a day. London had simply become my tarmac playground in which I was bored of playing in. So I moved on. With a heavy heart and sight accustomed to the darkness of London I left.

Leaving London was in many ways a blessing and a curse. The land of opportunity was now not as accessible for me which created a lot of difficulties to involve myself in things that I love like arts and culture, live music, theatre. I was unable to constantly wear my spectator shoes and witness worldwide spectacles take place at my doorstep. Leaving London made me, only for a while but long enough to sadden me, dull, still and quiet. I do not thrive in quiet surroundings, I find them uninspiring and disconnected from influences that can only strengthen your art. However, not all is negative.

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I had lost a lot of perspective in London, a city that revolves and evolves entirely around its own axis and takes with it everything and everyone inside, it is very easy to live for yourself and only for your egocentric needs and desires in a city as such. Where things move so fast and everything blends in, we all thrive to make sure we move just as fast but without getting lost or forgotten in the crowds. We all want to be so different that we end up looking exactly the same. This sad reality of a city in which all dreams and aspirations all seem limitless was making me feel like I was limited. I feel leaving London came at the right time for me, as now surrounded by completely different things, my creative sphere has expanded and I have engulfed so many new things. I was in a very confusing place, where London wasn’t where I wanted to be but going home was not appealing to me either. Now I am grateful for both and for the proximity I have to the fast moving capital and the quiet, growing county of Hertfordshire, and even more extremely so the completely stagnant Suffolk, where my thoughts are able to gather and slowly unscramble themselves as the stillness soothes my mind.

Now, as someone who is constantly moving from one busy setting to a calmer one in a 20 minute train journey, I feel that I have been re-born creatively. I feel that although I wanted to leave I quickly missed it because I was not sure how an unmoving town would inspire me, but in so many ways this has been the biggest influence. Knowing and living in the stark difference between three areas constantly, I now visit London with eyes of a knowing tourist. A seasoned Londoner discovering things and opening my eyes to movement that I would shy away from because I was stuck in a cycle of commute, forgetting to observe the small snippets of colour that the grey city has to offer. I travel from silence to movement to a buzz of life with such desire to take it all in. I adapt myself to each of these settings, and I feel that now I own London more than I did when I was living there. The beauty of having experienced living in the capital, is that now, now that I am not always there, I truly delve fully into the days that I have there, getting myself lost to find something new. Visiting London knowing that I will never get truly lost but always find a bit of myself is the most inspiring thing of all.

I leave you now with some photos over the years of my time as a humble resident of the capital.

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